Forecasts of precipitation in your favorite ski town are usually a good thing—after all, the magic equation is precipitation + cold = pow.
But if you remove the cold element from that equation, you’re left with a slightly nastier result: rain.
No matter how you frame it, a rainy day on the mountain kind of sucks. You’ll get soaking wet pretty quickly, and the snow that’s already on the mountain will get heavy and weird (or melty and miserable).
As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, whip up a tasty batch of lemonade. Here’s how to make lemonade from soggy mountain conditions.
Continuing with the grandpa sayings, there’s no such thing as bad weather—there’s just bad clothing. In other words, if you’re wearing the right stuff, you can have a good time in just about any condition. So bust out the GoreTex and pack along an extra pair of gloves and go skiing.
If you don’t feel like springing a month (plus) of rent on waterproof snow gear, you could always resort to the old fashioned garbage bag poncho. If it’s good enough for the lifties, it’s good enough for you.
Switch Your Stick(s)
If the rainy conditions limit you to groomers or if you know that it’s unlikely that you’ll last more than a few hours up top, have a little fun with it. Get everyone in your posse to switch their sticks: if they usually snowboard, have them pick up a pair of skis, and vice versa. Laugh at each other as you flail madly down the mountain in unfamiliar gear. Given that you’re learning in horrible conditions, you’ll undoubtedly walk away with full confidence that your initial gear of choice is by far the best.
Unless you’re experiencing some funky inversion action, the general rule of thumb is that the higher you go, the colder it gets (duh). So if it’s pouring down low, it just might be snowing like crazy up in the alpine. If you get really lucky, you might get the most magical pow day of all time—and the lift lines will be non-existent, since the rain will have scared the masses away.
Just Give ‘Er
Of course, there’s always the option to just suck it up, buttercup. You’ve come this far to go skiing—are you really going to let a little rain scare you off?
Remember what’s waiting for you at the end of the day: a warm shower, a cold brew, and a hot plate of nachos. Keep that in mind as you power through soggy lap after soggy lap, you hardcore snow sporter.
Give Up and Be Lazy
If you can’t stomach the thought of spending your money on a lift ticket to shred in horrible conditions, then give up on the dream and make other plans. Throw on your rattiest pair of sweatpants, invite some friends over (instruct them to bring snacks and pizza), and indulge in a marathon session of ski movie watching. The powder on the screen is definitely better than the non-existent powder outside.
Give Up and Go Crazy
Too much pent up energy to spend the day on the couch? Then get creative and enjoy the other aspect of a ski town: the partying. Plan your own original pub crawl: aim to try every drink on the menu between your crew, or hop from bar to bar and order their signature beverage.
There you have it: the proverbial ski town lemonade.